Tuesday, March 8, 2011

International Women's Day

In Azerbaijan, along with most other post-soviet countries and places in Asia and Russia, we celebrate International Women's Day. Not something we celebrate in America, although I have heard the President Obama proclaimed March 2011 "Women's History Month" in honor of this year being the 100th anniversary of Women's Day. Once a day to speak out about women's issues and women' rights, it is now, at least in Azerbaijan, whether good or bad simply a day of celebrating women. If I were in America I would take this day to celebrate my mom and grandmothers, as they are strong, independent women who taught me all that I know. But I'm not, I'm in Azerbaijan, so I wanted to take a minute to celebrate a woman here who has changed my life.
This is Zeynab. You've read a lot about her in my blog, if you've visited here you've met her and if you've called me then you've heard me talk about her. Her home is my home away from home, her family has become a safe haven for me and she has become my "Azerbaijani Mom." Zeynab is a mother of two, but lives with and cares for her husband's parents as well. Her husband, unfortunately, is in prison in Russia, so that leaves her to be the main care taker and bread winner in the family. Of course she has her father-in-law around to make decisions for the family, but that doesn't make any less work for Zeynab. Yet with all the work at school and at home that she does, and with the absence of her husband, all things that could get a person down, leaving them exhausted, she has one of the most upbeat, nurturing and adventurous spirit of any women I have meet here. Her heart is so full of hope for herself and her children it brings tears to my eyes. She is a fast learner and seems to surprise me with something she knows, says or understands about the world everyday. This strong, hard-working Azerbaijani woman deserves some praise on Women's Day!